The Winner’s Crime. Marie Rutkoski. Fantasy/Young adult/Romance. 2015. 416 pages. 5 stars.
“If you won’t be my friend, you’ll regret being my enemy.”
Book two of the dazzling Winner’s Trilogy is a fight to the death as Kestrel risks betrayal of country for love.
The engagement of Lady Kestrel to Valoria’s crown prince means one celebration after another. But to Kestrel it means living in a cage of her own making. As the wedding approaches, she aches to tell Arin the truth about her engagement… if she could only trust him. Yet can she even trust herself? For—unknown to Arin—Kestrel is becoming a skilled practitioner of deceit: an anonymous spy passing information to Herran, and close to uncovering a shocking secret.
As Arin enlists dangerous allies in the struggle to keep his country’s freedom, he can’t fight the suspicion that Kestrel knows more than she shows. In the end, it might not be a dagger in the dark that cuts him open, but the truth. And when that happens, Kestrel and Arin learn just how much their crimes will cost them.
After a great first book, The Winner’s Crime is a close second that was just as exciting as The Winner’s Curse. Following Kestrel’s departure from Arin and getting betrothed to the emperor’s son, Kestrel walks into more political issues to keep Arin and his people from being attacked and destroyed.
Personally, this was the book I disliked the most from the three. Not because it was dragging, stagnant, or had the middle book syndrome, but because Kestrel and Arin kept denying their feelings for each other it lacked romance. I crave romance. I need it to survive.
The plot is mostly full of sneaking around for both sides because this book is setting up for the finale, which I can feel is going to be GLORIOUS. It tackled technicalities and politics and court intrigue. It also deals with denial of feelings and trying to get over each other but failing but honestly I think I’m just rambling because Kestrin is baebaebae.
I don’t have much else to say except that this book, despite its shortages, is essential to the series.